Thursday, April 29, 2010
Scrub On, Scrub Off, Scrub On, Scrub Off: Seasoning the Karai
Miyagi: First, wash all car. Then wax. Wax on...
Daniel: Hey, why do I have to...?
Miyagi: Ah ah! Remember deal! No questions!
Daniel: Yeah, but...
[makes circular gestures with each hand]
Miyagi: Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don't forget to breathe, very important.
[walks away, still making circular motions with hands]
Miyagi: Wax on, wax off. Wax on, wax off.
Those were the words that went through my head when I saw and then cleaned my first karai, a wok-like pot used in Indian cooking. I could have chosen a brand new, teflon-coated steel one, or an aluminum one, but I went straight for the older-style iron karai.
After a recommendation to get an iron karai at the Gariahat Fish Market, I found a kitchen supply vendor that had stacks and stack of aluminum karai. When I inquired about iron ones, he came around to the front of the stall and pulled out a pot from under a wooden bench draped with a cloth. My karai appeared completely covered with rust. But at $3.00, I thought it would be worth the effort.
I took it home and then scrubbed and scrubbed - or rather wax on, wax off - until most of the rust was off with a mix of oil and salt, then water, dish soap and steel wool. It took several attempts to get to the silver-colored iron.
After the cleaning, I coated it with oil and baked it in the oven for one hour to set the first layer of seasoning. It was then ready to start using. I then felt worthy enough to start cooking Indian and Bengali food in front of Krishna.
Movie quote from The Karate Kid